Saturday, December 9, 2017

Barrons weekend summary

Barrons weekend summary: Cautious feature on MBI 

Cover story: Outlook 2018 feature includes forecasts from Wall Street investment strategists, who expect U.S. stocks to head higher next year, propelled by economic growth and earnings gains; they’re bullish on financials and technology, but cautious on consumer staples and utilities; the S&P 500 could hit 2840; Barron’s 10 favorite stocks for 2018 are GOOGL, DAL, Berkshire Hathaway, Volkswagen, PXD, AMAT, EPD, ALLY, ANTM, USFD. 

Features: 1) Cautious on MBI: Company’s $250M buyback returned money to long-suffering investors, but the shares were bought by the firm’s regulated insurance subsidiary, which has taken a hit in Puerto Rico ; 2) Apps such as Acorns, Stash, and Robinhood offer fractional-share ownership of a short, curated list of ETFs and encourage saving via automated deposits, and their low barriers to entry have boosted user numbers; 3) Barron’s 2017 stock picks topped the market during the past 12 months, returning 29.8% against 22.8% for the S&P 500, with TOL, AAPL, and UL the best performers; 4) Positive on GOOGL, FB, MSFT, IBM, AMZN: Among tech giants making bets on artificial reality, which is expanding beyond gaming to find uses in a range of businesses—with the potential for far-reaching implications for corporations and consumers. 

Tech Trader: Positive on DISH, SNY, GOOGL, Hulu: For cord cutters, multichannel video programming distributors, or MVPDs, bring back the ability to watch news, sports, and other events in real time, and there is growing demand for the services. 

Trader: “There’s not much to scare the market now at year end”; Michael Darda of MKM Partners says growth momentum remains above recovery averages, but not so much as to create an inflation panic at the Fed; “There is tremendous uncertainty heading into the year, at a time when zero fear is being priced in,” says David Rosenberg of Gluskin Sheff; Consumers still want to spend, but their buying habits have changed too much for most of the legacy retailers to return to their former glory. 

Interview: Omar Selim of Arabesque Asset Management talks about S-Ray, an intelligent database that monitors the sustainability of 7,000 companies around the world, combining about 200 ESG metrics from more than 50,000 sources. 

Profile: Sreeni Prabhu manages the Angel Oak Multi-Strategy Income fund, of which more than 60% of assets are nonagency residential mortgage-backed securities, with commercial mortgage-backed securities coming in a distant second. 

Follow-Up: Cautious on CVS, AET: Leerink Partners analyst Ana Gupte says it’s unlikely the combined entity will pocket cost savings the companies say will result from eliminating $750M in annual operating expenses. 

European Trader: Positive on Deutsche Post, Cinci: Shipping company and toll-road and construction firm are among transportation stocks that could pay off for investors as Europe’s economy continues to recover. 

Asian Trader: With the MSCI AC Asia ex Japan index up 41% and Japan’s Nikkei 225 up 18% so far this year, fund managers and sell-side analysts expect Asian markets to power ahead in 2018. 

Commodities: “After an unimpressive year, the 2018 outlook for commodities looks more promising, particularly for crude oil and industrial metals.” 

Streetwise: In a reversal of the usual process in which Wall Street spots a trend and mom-and-pop investors follow later, leading to a crash, banks are only now getting into Bitcoin almost a decade after it was invented; even with new exchanges, Wall Street won’t be able to control the market for the cryptocurrency.